NaNoWriMo 2011 Wrap-up

So the madness known as NaNoWriMo is over for another year.  I’m kind of sad to see it end, just when I was getting into the swing of things:  spending half an hour writing every day before work, blogging about my daily progress on LiveJournal, going to a weekly write-in (and meeting some cool peeps), building my NaNoWriMo circle on G+ (and meeting more cool peeps).  I’m going to miss all of that.  Well, maybe not all.  I might still get up early some days to write before work.  But it won’t be the same.

I do have to send a special shout-out to one of my friends, though, a lady who goes by the handle “denied” on the NaNo boards.  She was ~12,000 words away from finishing as of yesterday morning–and by the end of the day, she had crossed the 50,000 word mark!  I’m so proud of her and happy for her that I could just about bust.  Way to go, lady!  Never give up!

I did accomplish a couple of personal goals with this year’s NaNoWriMo.  One was to post a daily status update to my LiveJournal, and the other was to continue posting here at least twice a week.  I even managed to keep up my Dragon Friday postings, though a couple of them ended up being Dragon Sunday postings instead.  Going forward, I think I’m going to continue to post writing-related entries here on Thursdays and Dragon Friday entries on Friday, but I may add a regular Tuesday entry, having to do with some other aspect of creativity, as well.  I’ve been neglecting my other creative outlets this month, so I may compensate by having a burst of jewelry or Christmas Ornament making in the next week or so.

Some stats for this year (since I’m a data person in Real Life):

Total words written:  (53,513 according to MS Word)
Average Words Per Day:  1,784
Best Day:  3,514 (11/13/2011)
Worst Day:  351 (11/12/2011)
Biggest “Lead” (amount beyond average 1,667 words per day needed to win):  +5,261
Smallest “Lead”:  -1,760

(Interesting that my worst and best days were adjacent to one another!)

So not my most inspiring November ever, but not as bad as it could have been.  Given that my mom had major surgery early in the month, and then we had to take five days out at the end of the month for a road trip to visit the other set of parents, it’s really not bad at all.

However…I’m massively unhappy with what I’ve written so far.  Yes, there are words.  There are even some good words.  There are some good characters, and even a few decent plot points.

But there’s an awful lot that I felt I was writing just to make the daily word count.  There are conversations, even entire scenes that aren’t necessary to the plot.  This is beyond just rambly (because rambly is normal for me, and I could handle that).  This is bad enough that I can’t even tell where I need the story to go next.  My main character seems to have spent the entire book so far wallowing in self-pity; her love interest has been spending his days brooding darkly.  It’s bad enough that I haven’t even wanted to go back and read the whole thing from the beginning.  Which tells me that it has to be bad, since I’m usually itching to do that once I get past about 35,000 words–and it’s usually the first thing I do on December 1.  Nor am I eager to get on with the next bits of the story, so eager that I’d gladly give up sleep and food to get there (which is where I usually am at the end of November).  So that tells me that this story is broken, and badly so.

Part of the problem is that the story so far lacks focus.  I’ve had strong themes and character arcs that have run through the last two volumes of this story, ones which have made it easier to find the bits that need to be included and skip the bits that need to be skipped.  I haven’t really found those yet for this story; or rather, I think I’m finally starting to see the them, but they’re buried under too many useless words.

So I think I’m going to do something drastic and unprecedented:

I’m going to stop writing on the story for the time being, and start whittling away at the bits that don’t need to be there.

Because until I do that, I don’t think I can have any clear idea as to where the story is headed (other than the inevitable climactic scene that has been living in my head for two years now).

I want to make it clear, I’m not giving up on this story.  I just need to dig it out of the underbrush and get it back on its tracks.  I think I see what I need to do.  Now, to make it happen….  Wish me luck!

Anyone else ever finish a writing challenge and really hate what they had written?  How did you tackle the problem?

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About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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One Response to NaNoWriMo 2011 Wrap-up

  1. Cerealboxreader says:

    Congrats on finishing. I think we all need a good break from NaNo before it’s possible to go back and look at what bits to cut or keep. Personally, NaNo was a break from my main project, Marmalade, Cat Detective. I’m going back to polishing that one up for submission.

    I love your Keep Calm and NaNo On icon. Very cute.

    Catch you on the Anticipation Forum…

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